My favorite vendors, services, equipment, and supplies for handmade skin care businesses.
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means I earn money if you buy through my link. This in no way affects my suggestions. I only recommend products I know, love, and trust.
Best Recipe Books for Learning Skin Care Formulation
Creating Natural Essentials
Written by yours truly, this natural skin care recipe book includes 50 retail-ready product ideas that can be geared towards many audiences.
Also includes research on essential oils, shelf life information, and many other bonuses to accelerate your understanding of the natural skin care industry.
500 Formulas for Aromatherapy
Another great book for getting used to working with natural ingredients (still not retail-ready though).
This book is a great generator for future product ideas at an easy price point.
Basic overview of essential oils and industry-specific dictionary in the back to get you familiar with some of our lingo.
Best Skin Care Ingredient Vendors
The quality of essential oils is everything to my product line, and Plant Therapy is my absolute go-to as a certified aromatherapist and essential oil specialist.
They have great prices because they’re not an MLM, they have the research (GC/MS reports) on every single batch of oil they sell, free shipping, and offer bulk pricing. I use them for raw ingredients as well (such as carrier oils, beeswax, and butters).
Starwest Botanicals is where I purchase dry ingredients like clays, activated charcoal, menthol crystals, and dried herbs.
They also carry some liquid items that Plant Therapy doesn’t, such as witch hazel, castile soap, and a different variety of hydrosols.
Their shipping discounts (for U.S. customers) based on order amount are also VERY welcome in a time when S&H keeps going up and up!
While I support other businesses when I can, there’s no denying the convenience of an Amazon Prime membership.
When you run out of an ingredient, Amazon’s fast shipping can save the day (and your own sanity when a customer’s order is on the line).
My Prime Membership has paid for itself many times over with fast and free shipping included.
Best Skin Care Product Packaging
I’ve been using Paper Mart for years (I love supporting family businesses!) to supply my ribbon, muslin bags, gift boxes, and a few product containers.
If you ever do in-person events such as Farmer’s Markets or fairs, Paper Mart also has a large variety of table display accessories and shopping bag options.
Tip: Paper Mart’s Reward Program gives you a few sweet perks throughout the year!
SKS Bottle & Packaging
All of my glass bottles, jars, lip balm tubes, aromatherapy rollers, etc. come from SKS Bottle & Packaging. They do a great job on their website of having all the dimensions you need for making labels, choosing shrink wrap if you use it, and getting the correct add-ons (plus they provide unit cost in addition to the full case cost, a huge time-saver when comparison shopping).
The best perk is that shipping is free for $350+ orders, and that is an INSANE bonus now that shipping, in general, is astronomically high.
I tried several different label companies, and I found Avery the easiest to use with the widest selection of ‘everything printed promo’ (labels, business cards, stickers, postcards, tags, etc).
Avery has blank sheets and roll labels you can print at home or with professional printing to get a unique look that is difficult to achieve when printing on your own.
(This is the company I link to in my Editable Label Templates, along with step-by-step instructions.)
Best Product Photography Supplies
Photo Tent Lightbox
I’m sharing the tent and lighting setup I started with years ago – it worked incredibly well for the small living space I was in at the time.
The photo tent lightbox is large enough to arrange skin care products with a few props, and it folds down into a flat square so you can easily store it.
Photo Backdrop Boards
My particular set of boards provides a modern look that works with my current branding, though there are tons of different styles you can choose from.
I like that they’re sturdy and easy to clean with a quick wipe rather than having to wash and iron a fabric backdrop (or throw away a paper one).
My daughter’s pack of silly putty came in as the big MVP a couple of photo shoots ago and I haven’t looked back since!
Simply pinch off a small amount of silly putty and roll into a ball or pyramid to help angle products for the perfect shot, keep props in place, and temporarily hold items together.
Best Shipping Supplies and Services
I already mentioned Paper Mart above as a top-notch vendor for product packaging, but this is also where I get all of my shipping boxes, mailers, tape, and box filler.
Again, don’t forget to sign up for their rewards program!
I learned about Pirate Ship waaaaay too late in my e-commerce career. This is a SUPER easy-to-use shipping software program that compares USPS and UPS prices.
Perk #1 (besides being 100% free to use) is that it offers discounted shipping labels.
Perk #2 is that you can connect any and all of the platforms you sell on and it funnels all of your orders directly into it. For example, I sell on both Etsy and Shopify, and because I integrated both into my Pirate Ship account, all orders from both platforms show up automatically.
It’s so easy (and I have zero clue as to why it’s free).
Best Computer Programs & Tools
Google Workspace is the answer to getting that ‘professional’ email address that you’ve been wondering about.
Instead of using ‘you @ gmail.com’ (unprofessional), Google Workspace provides you with ‘you @ skincarebizname.com’.
Even a decade into my business, I still only use the Business Starter plan.
I love having my business files stored separately from my personal info, and the Google Slides, Calendar, Sheets, Forms, and Analytics are all part of my daily toolkit.
I think most makers are familiar with the free version of Canva (that’s where I started, too). I upgraded to Canva Pro because it offers premium features like background removal (a staple for my branding), stock photos you can’t find anywhere else (a must for my website), super awesome design templates, cloud storage, and tutorials (for everything).
As a skin care business, you will be writing website copy, product descriptions, customer correspondence, and more.
Writing with correct punctuation and grammar is incredibly important to your professionalism, and Grammarly helps you to communicate effectively, for free.
This is spellcheck with superpowers, as it actually helps you become a better writer with phrase suggestions and tone detection.
A must for any e-commerce entrepreneur!
Best Ecommerce Sites for Makers
Etsy (a marketplace) is easy to set up (no choice about fonts or the formatting of your store) and a small financial risk (20 cents a listing with a *5% transaction fee), so a great place to get your feet wet if you haven’t sold online before. You can learn what products your target market likes and work on improving your sales copy and product photography without having to worry about website design at the same time.
You can get your first 40 listings for free here if you’re ready to get started and have never opened an Etsy shop before.
Shopify (a stand-alone website builder) is more customizable and scalable for the individual that is prepared to do more in the design department. It’s still pretty darn easy (compared to building a website on your own) with the provided starter templates and tutorials.
If you’re in it for the long haul, Shopify offers a gazillion extra things to get yourself actually discoverable in an online search (aka, SEO – Search Engine Optimization), including blog posts, additional website pages, and the ability to edit your page titles, category descriptions, meta descriptions, URLs, and all alt-text.
Best Online Marketing Platforms & Services
If you are looking to schedule your social media posts ahead of time, I have used Later in the past with much success and recommend them.
Later provides not just scheduling but analytics, hashtag performance, content planning, and reporting.
Their free account includes 10 free posts a month (get ten extra with the button below) on one social handle.
(On the free trial sign-up page, click on the ‘Not Now’ button at the very bottom to keep the free account.)
MailerLite is my recommended email service provider to start you on the road of email marketing.
They are free for up to 1,000 subscribers (with a 12,000 email cap), have great newsletter templates for e-commerce sellers, and earned ‘Best Email Deliverability’ in 2021.
I’ll have more posts and resources on how to use MailerLite with Shopify and Etsy in the future; until then, they have free online courses available (click on ‘MailerLite Academy’ in the Resources section after signing up) that are crystal clear and walk you through everything.
After your business grows and if/when you have the need for automation, segmenting, and tagging your customers, I recommend moving over to Converkit for your email marketing.
This is for the more advanced entrepreneur that is looking to deliver opt-ins and a personalized customer experience.
Best Productivity Tools for Makers
Celebrate Your Wins
An annual planner, journal, and success tracker for creative entrepreneurs that focus on goal-setting, focusing on the journey, and a positive mindset.
If you struggle with motivation or ‘imposter syndrome, this planner is for you.
Comes with a private FB community for networking, inspiration, and troubleshooting.
Asana for Goal-Getting Makers
Asana for Makers is a quick-win course that teaches you how to better manage your work time in your business – encouraging you to find the balance between working IN and working ON your shop.
Janet (from Paper + Spark) guides you through using a totally free productivity tool called Asana, alongside a complete mindset shift in how you break down your BIG goals to daily to-do’s to help you become immeasurably more efficient in your business.
Best Inventory and Bookkeeping for Makers
Etsy Seller Spreadsheet
The Etsy Seller Spreadsheet comes loaded with the tricks that accountants use so you don’t have to worry about crunching the numbers yourself or finding the right report here or there.
All you need to do is copy & paste your Etsy info and follow the instructions. We’ll show you how to do your books for the month and record all your transactions!
Shopify Seller Spreadsheet
Are you a Shopify seller without a bookkeeping system to support you? Have you tried to set up a process for dealing with your business’ finances, but you quickly get overwhelmed or confused and give up?
Get ready to win back more time to create products & make sales with this automated bookkeeping template from Paper + Spark. The spreadsheet tools give you everything you need to easily do your books, without monthly subscription costs.
Inventory Spreadsheet for Handmade Sellers
The process of entering raw materials & supplies, figuring out the cost of your skin care products, and setting a profitable price point can be time-consuming and stressful. And don’t forget about doing that year-end inventory count for tax purposes.
If you’re tired of wasting energy trying to figure out a way to track inventory or price your handmade goods on your own, a Paper + Spark inventory spreadsheet is for you.
Freebie for Bookkeeping Catch-up (for Etsy sellers)
If you need some assistance catching up on your 2022 numbers before the tax deadline (April 2023), I got you!
My lady Janet (from Paper + Spark) has compiled some tips and handy resources to help you go from totally stressed and behind to breathing easy and DONE!
Free Tax Workshop
A free webinar all about when to worry about taxes for your handmade shop.
Janet from Paper+Spark clears up the contradicting rumors and overwhelm about your responsibilities as a biz owner.
She’ll discuss whether your shop is really just a hobby or actually a business, and exactly what that means for you.
Best Online Courses for Growing Your Skin Care Business
Do you have to have a certification in aromatherapy to build a successful skin care business?
Is it excellent information to have while also giving you credibility as a maker?
I’d love to share with you how Aromahead’s Certification Program provides a reliable education that is grounded in both science and experience.
Register now for the free webinar “How to Become A Certified Aromatherapist!” to reserve your spot. Don’t miss out on learning how you can transform your relationship with Aromatherapy to build your skin care business!
A quick-win course by Janet from Paper + Spark that teaches you both traffic-building strategies AND how to accurately track your efforts so you aren’t wasting time and money.
A comprehensive list of ideas for:
- How to get more eyeballs on your products (for any type of product business on any platform).
- FINALLY understand your marketing analytics & metrics (and know where to find them).
- How to know if your marketing efforts are working so you can double down where it makes sense and STOP wasting time where it doesn’t.
Hope you found a gem here to help your business-building journey!
If there is a category that you’re looking for and didn’t find a suggestion above, please reach out to our DIY Skin Care Biz Facebook Community and we’ll research together!